Camera-savvy vets wow judges as BVA Veterinary photographer of the year announced

01 September 2017

Veterinary surgeons Mandy Knight and Jen Rowland stunned a panel of judges to clinch the joint top title in the British Veterinary Association’s second annual photo competition, which saw almost 500 entries from vets across the UK offering a unique insight into the daily life of a vet and the wonderful world of animals.

Mandy Knight, an Australian-born small animal vet, won in the ‘You and your work’ category with her photograph ‘Happy Gastrotomy’, which captures a smiley squeeze-toy being removed from the stomach of a Labrador. Mixed-practice vet Jen Rowland captured the judges’ attention with her image of rare and native North Ronaldsay and Dartmoor sheep grazing under the Milky Way in Northumberland in ‘The wonderful world of animals’ category.

Of her winning photo, Mandy, who is currently taking time out from full-time work, said: "I am so thrilled to be able to share this photo. It was actually about 10 years or so ago that I encountered this dog. We knew from radiographs that he had eaten a ball, but it was a lovely surprise to make the incision into the stomach and have this happy little chap beam out at us! We have such a cool job as vets, and this just nails it.”

Jen, a recent graduate who works in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, said: “I am completely shocked and delighted to have won this competition and it has definitely inspired me to get out with my camera more often. I was very lucky to get this shot as it was a single thirty second exposure - I had some very cooperative models!”

Commenting on Jen’s photo, competition judge and award-winning wildlife photographer George Stoyle said: 
“Jen Rowland has clearly put some thought into her photo and has shown skill in its execution. From a technical perspective, the exposure used for the sky is just long enough to make the stars visible whilst minimising star trails, and artificial light has been used just enough to highlight the sheep and the rest of the foreground. The entire scene along with the ragged appearance of the sheep gives the image a feeling of wild, remote, windswept moorland, which I love.

“It was a real pleasure to look through all the entries, many of which provided a fascinating insight into the vets’ world, which I know very little about.”

The high standard of photographs entered made picking winners a difficult task for the judging panel, which comprised of overall winner of the British Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016 George Stoyle, BVA Junior Vice President John Fishwick, Veterinary Record Assistant Editor and photographer Gill Harris, and Association of Veterinary Students Senior Vice President Hannah Mason. Winning images were chosen based on their technical excellence, originality and how much they fulfilled the brief.

Alongside the two winning photographs, five photos in the ‘You and your work’ category and eight in ‘The wonderful world of animals’ category received Highly Commended awards – ranging from giraffes to gannets and Lackey Moths.

Highly commended: You and your work

  • ‘Wildlife veterinary course in South Africa: Rhino capture, microchip implants and transporting’ by Ana Coscujuela Vigo
  • ‘Blood sample for green iguana’ by Alan Humphreys
  • ‘Veterinary podiatrist at work’ by Rachel O’Higgin
  • ‘Meerkat under general anaesthetic before his vasectomy’ by Rachel Lowton
  • ‘Giraffe game capture’ by Charlotte Gresham

Highly commended: the wonderful world of animals

  • ‘Golden Spray’ by James Tate
  • One of several thousand gannets at Bempton cliffs, East Yorks’ by Laura Keyser
    ‘Jesus Christ Basilisk’ by Peter Orpin
  • A pair of Red-necked Grebes in courtship amongst the lily pads of the Danube Delta’ by Richard Tyler
    ‘Stag and his doe in a storm near Ullapool’ by Alexander Chappel
  • ‘Lunga puffins’ by Jo Lawrence
  • ‘Peacock with style’ by David McKeown
  • ‘Lackey Moth caterpillar I found on a boardwalk leading to a hide on Skomer Island in West Wales’ by Nigel Griffiths

British Veterinary Association President Gudrun Ravetz said: "We are delighted by the number and quality of the entries we received this year.

"The veterinary team is uniquely placed to capture the many wonderful facets of its work on camera, and we are pleased that our members have shared their eye-catching snapshots for BVA’s photography competition, offering us a vet’s-eye-view of their daily work and interaction with the wonderful world of animals.”

Mandy and Jen each receive £250 worth of gift vouchers from John Lewis.

Their winning images alongside the commended photographs will premiere in an exhibition at BVA’s  Members’ Day at W5 Odyssey Belfast later this month (21 September).

The full gallery of BVA Veterinary photographer of the year competition entries can be viewed before then on BVA's Flickr account

BVA Media Office